Drones have been the formidable technological advance that the agricultural world had been waiting for and with the drone revolution came lots of different ideas as to how they could be used on an everyday basis in a farm setting. Of course, drones will have certain limitations but for the most part they are robust and highly useful pieces of equipment. We take a look at 5 exciting and practical ways to put your drone to work and see better return on investment. A well-used drone should set your profits soaring and make your day to day farm life easier.
Irrigation and Fertigation Equipment Monitoring
If you have an irrigation or fertigation system you will know just how tedious it can be to check all points are working and free from obstruction. Drones give you quick access to sprinklers and nozzles and allow you to check them effectively without the need to physically trudge around the fields. They also work well when crops grow and bury the once easily accessible points. Some drones even have thermal imaging cameras so simply running through water at temperature will allow you to check that the outlets are all working as intended.
Knowing where your livestock is will make for a happy farm. If you graze cattle then your land could be quite expansive, if it is, you know all too well the annoyances of tracking down the herd. What’s worse is when you have found the herd but the head count reveals you have a couple of stragglers. Gone are the days where you would spend fruitless hours literally searching on road and foot for those left behind because now you have eyes in the sky that can do it all swiftly for you. Drones carry out all the functions that you would expect them to, counting and also allowing you to visually inspect your animals. They save you time and that time means it saves you additional stress and money.
Drones are sophisticated bits of equipment with some very clever software available to further enhance their capabilities. One such piece of software integrates with the camera function of your drone and allows you to survey your fields for weeds. This allows you to spot problem areas and also take action – using your drone! Drones can be fitted with everything needed to kill weeds or can be paired with unmanned ground vehicles that will follow the drone’s commands and locate the weed and remove it. The technology is very impressive and can pinpoint individual plants, crops and weeds so you can put your feet up and concentrate on keeping abreast of all the latest precision farming developments.
Crop Health Check
As mentioned above the drones are capable of identifying your crops down to single plant level. They can also look for indicators that will tell you if your crops are performing as expected. Upon planting a farmer will have a good idea on total crop size by the uptake, but besides checking the crop manually every so often it is difficult to gauge problems in real time and even more difficult to tell accurately how much yield to expect from any one field. With drones this has changed. They can count crops, measure size and look at plant health. They determine whether the crop is growing in optimum conditions and flag up areas that could be improved on. The also do this in no more than a few sweeps of the field, meaning you can now monitor your crops on a daily basis and get all your crop information as it is happening.
Drones, as we keep saying, are nifty bits of technology. They go far beyond just being an aerial camera. Precision farming relies on making sure that each aspect of your farm is at its optimum on a consistent basis. Drones give you the ability to check your soil, assess the condition, see where you have excess drainage or not enough drainage and see where the soil is losing nutrients. They provide reliable and up to date information giving you the opportunity to locate affected areas and remedy any issues.
We expect drones to soon be the “farmers best friend” and with the new year around the corner we are excited for the further drone developments in the not so distant future. We are expecting them to continue revolutionising the precision farming world and streamlining the work that smart agriculturalists everywhere do. It is really a truly exciting time to be a farmer.